Paradise IV Dardel 2018
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J.H.DARDEL 2018 - 100% SHIRAZ
If ever there was a wine to go out on, this is it. The vintage and vineyard worked in perfect unison. A deep, powerful colour to the very rim of the meniscus. Dark plum fruits, earthy notes, blood orange zest; high toned fruits spiced by szechuan pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, smoked meats with a sous-bois overlay. The palate is a mirror reflection of the bouquet with cleansing acidity and supple, fine resolved tannins giving rise to a richly fruited wine with a precise and savoury finish. This wine will go the long haul and age for 30 plus years. A tour de force. DOUG NEAL WINEMAKER
It’s not often I find myself reviewing a shiraz that really thinks it’s a high-end pinot noir. That’s what I’m doing here, although – like many a pinot of great breeding – this wine will build depth and structure quite dramatically over the next 5-8 years. Its musky, faintly mocha-like bouquet of smoked duck, dark cherries, raspberries and redcurrants is laced with earthy notes of Pu Er tea and exotic spice. Long and supple, with a plush core of mouth filling black and red fruit, it extends long, supple and seamless down a tight-grained, drying and dusty spine that is certain to become firmer. It finishes with remarkable drive and savoury complexity. This is something very unique and special. 99 points. Jeremy Oliver
Neal has long been an under-the-radar star of the Australian winemaking scene. Serving an initial apprenticeship alongside Rick Kinzbrunner at Giaconda for the best part of two decades, it is his own label Paradise IV that has really shown the breadth of his winemaking prowess and his innate understanding of texture, balance and flavour in wine. In recent years it has been Doug's Chardonnay that has caught the imagination of press and punter alike, but the reds have always been much more than a supporting cast. In particular, the Dardel Shiraz can rightly be considered a benchmark for the Geelong region. It is elegance, balance and finesse personified - it recalls the great wines of the Northern Rhone, this is the best he has ever made. One of the finest shirazes yet made in Australia, this is a landmark cool climate wine. Wild, musky and faintly meaty aromas of deep, lustrous black, blue and and red berries lifted by profound floral scents reveal nuances of cedar and animal hide. Medium-bodied, it's densely packed with pastille-like flavours of cassis, blackberries and dark plums, extending smooth and velvety down a tight-grained and slatey spine, building intensity towards a long, seamless finish of mineral and savoury qualities. Extraordinary.